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Pokémon Shield Nintendo Switch Game Review

Pokémon's first major outing on a home console is here.

Nov 28, 2019
Pokémon Shield Nintendo Switch Game Review - Reviewed by Kidzworld on Nov 28, 2019
( Rating: 4 Star Rating)

Pokémon Shield and Pokémon Sword are both finally here on Nintendo Switch and weve spent some time in the games world ourselves. Check out Kidzworld for our thoughts on the latest mainline Pokémon game.

Though the Pokémon series came into the world on the original Game Boy way back in the late 90s, there hasn't been much of a rush from developer Game Freak to get onto an at-home console for the mainline series. With the Nintendo Switch bridging the gap between console and handheld, fans were immediately curious at what direction the latest Pokemon game would go. And while our time with Pokémon Shield was filled with a ton of fun, and some great new Pokémon to catch, it doesn't necessarily feel like as big of a step as fans may have hoped for. But, that doesn't mean that there's not a lot to love in the latest Pokémon adventure. 

The evolution of Scorbunny into Raboot is one of my all-time series favorites.The evolution of Scorbunny into Raboot is one of my all-time series favorites.Courtesy of Nintendo

Exploring The Galar Region

The world of Pokémon has many different environments that reflect our real world. While the last major releases (Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon) have taken place in a Hawaiian themed location called the Alola Region, Pokémon Sword and Shield both take place in a United Kingdom-esque place called the Galar Region. Of course, each new world brings plenty of Pokémon into the collection and the three starters revealed this time feel like a perfect starting point regardless of which you choose. Sobble is a cute and shy water-Pokémon, while Grookey is the monkey-like Grass-type. For my first adventure, I went with the fire-type Scorbunny. The starters are fantastic, and though there are a few odd-looking newcomers this time around -- looking at your Blipbug -- there are some easy to love additions as well which include Scorbunny's evolution into Raboot. Some of the creatures fit snugly into this new world which is so-so to explore.

Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield - Official Launch Trailer

 

The story isn't going to blow anyone away, despite an interesting direction toward the back-half of the tale. You're a young Pokémon-lover who sets out in the world alongside your rival/childhood friend Hop. Hop's older brother Leo is the current reigning Pokémon Champion and the two of you set out to challenge his throne and earn your own fame as the greatest Pokémon Trainer in the region. Pretty standard stuff for the Pokémon series.

The Dynamax battles feature giant versions of your monsters with stronger moves.The Dynamax battles feature giant versions of your monsters with stronger moves.Courtesy of Nintendo

Your first time entering a massive town will likely be diminished a bit once you realize that there's really not much in the way of exploration but that is easily offset by the Wild Area. This area clearly wears its Breath of the Wild inspiration proudly and results in one of the coolest creations in the history of the franchise. These large expansive areas are free-roaming, full camera-controlled environments that let you explore the world with a perspective previously unseen in the franchise. There's plenty of room to improve on the idea in the future entries but this is a great starting point. You'll actually see Pokémon in the distance that you can run up to and battle and, in my experience, the monsters here are much tougher than what you'll see elsewhere. However, the most unique twist to the battle system is also first introduced here too.

Interacting with your Pokémon in camps is an adorable way to get to know your friends.Interacting with your Pokémon in camps is an adorable way to get to know your friends.Courtesy of Nintendo

Battling the Beasts

Anyone that's played a turn-based RPG before will be familiar with the gameplay here as it hasn't changed much since the series' creation. Sending out monsters from your team of acquired Pokémon in a back-and-forth battle between other Pokemon you encounter out in the open world. After weakening your opponent enough, assuming they're not already with a trainer, you can hurl a Poke Ball their way and, if caught, you can add them to your own personal collection. These battles aren't really too tough throughout the game, as Pokémon is considered to be a pretty accessible series, but the new Dynamax Pokemon feature adds a unique new wrinkle. 

It's not all new creatures here, there are plenty of classic Pokémon still here.It's not all new creatures here, there are plenty of classic Pokémon still here.Courtesy of Nintendo

Dynamx Pokémon are basically massive versions of some specific Pokémon that take a lot of effort to take down. In fact, in the Wild Area you can come across glowing dens that'll throw you right into a tough fight against a Dynamax'd version. The rules here are a little tweaked and you'll need some help from other trainers -- either A.I. or real-life. You'll also have the chance to respond with your own Dynamax'd monsters too. It may not really change the structure of the fights too much but it feels like a fresh and unique idea.

If you focus on your starter Pokémon, they can take you through the whole game.If you focus on your starter Pokémon, they can take you through the whole game.Courtesy of Nintendo

Final Thoughts

My time with Pokémon Shield was a comfy return to a simpler type of game. It's undeniably disappointing that Pokémon's first foray onto a home console didn't have a bit more oomph behind it but that doesn't mean that there isn't plenty of fun to be had with the adventure. If you're a lover of Pokémon, either young or old, you're sure to have a good time. 

Sword and Shield's Legendary Pokémon make for some memorable monsters.Sword and Shield's Legendary Pokémon make for some memorable monsters.Courtesy of Nintendo

Pros

  • Cute Characters
  • Dynamax Pokémon 
  • Wild Area

Cons

  • Familiar Formula
  • New Pokémon Are Hit or Miss

Pokémon Shield Game Rating: 4

Pokémon Shield Box ArtPokémon Shield Box Art

Available now for Nintendo Switch

Share Your Thoughts!

Are you a Pokémon fan? Will you pick up either Pokémon Sword or Shield? Write a comment below and share your thoughts with us!

 

By: Max Cannon